January 29, 2023
The best dead you've never heard..
..these two nights that open the historic 4 night Atlanta run feature so much really cool playing and unique (or at least noteable) musical moments, they may make you question what year hou are actually listening to.
All I can say is that when the tour busses rolled up and Jerry walked out of his , he must have inhaled a deep breath of that sweet Peachtree street air and said "God I LOVE Atlanta. I can't wait to fuckin play these shows"... Im not kidding at all, since these shows feature without any doubt Jerry's BEST guitar playing of this tour so dar... there's a couple of Charlotte and Oakland shows i skimmed cuz of lack of good sbd, but I'll stake a spool of 1000 blank cdr's on this. It's abundantly clear that Jerry has been feeling uncharachteristically "rather like his old self" as he gives us a Shining Star- esque reading of Sugaree with extra flowery guitar phrases, and what I believe is the first truly extended use (but nit the first use) of the Whammy digitech pedal...he finds a few strange bends along the way in his search for pedal steel bliss, and the little unexpected breakdown it throws the band into is a must hear. Prob the only 5 song set of the year, but still not as short as some sets... Let it Grow features more fun Garcia guitarversations as he still seems to be really trying to push the music tonight, not just keep up with it. He even throws in more fast sextuplet guitar mini-shred meltdowns which are VERY rare for 95. The fact that his carpal tunnel effect seems nowhere around is obvious as he REALLY gets after it... Huge Iko gives the Spectrum one a run for its money... TONS of spirited playing as he drops basically a double length Iko extravaganza on us, opening the set with welcomed confidence. The energy keeps up nicely but who can overlook a huge Playin with jamming that takes us into the neyherreaches of Garcia's fluent mind if guitar melodies and chord sequences, one confident and beautiful and sometimes strange idea after another during this tour-highlight quality Playin jam. Just awesome. Definitely a feeling here like the Dead are as good as ever, and with their best iverall band sound since spring 93. At one point, Jerry's playing is so sublime, the entire band stops playing and lets the moment carry tje whole arena... Uncle Johns is similar to others we've heard this tour, with a real meltdown and trippy guitar freakout between bob and jerry, while Vince reassures us we're not reallt losing our minds with thoughtful piano parts interwoven. Drums takes over slowly as the full band stays on stage to take the music into a very unexpected and dark place... ya'll, we havent even started drums/space yet and this show has already featured about an hour of almost free firm jamming. Some people dissed this show on another recording's page... but if you read their reviews its obvious they just arent opening their eyes and cant hear past their own preconceived prejudices.
Ya'll... they STILL havent left the stage for drums, this UJB outro is crazy!!! Its a total 23 minute UJB with the last 15 of it being acid test tonal breakdown stuff that would really twist you if it caught you off gaurd ;-) Drums is better than ever these days. They should have made an Infrared Roses type album of only 95 Drums/Space segments... it would have been better... i digress... So, after The exceptional quality of Especially the 2nd set of the show, I saw days between coming and immediately expected it to be in the running for best version of the year. I will find it , if it's not this one! Lol. This version starts off as majestically and beautiful as any version...the band as a whole manages the gentle crescendo that persists throughout, building gently, ebbing back slightly.... they are MASTERS of the very bad-ass instrumental sound you hear in Days Between... listeners will also be rewarded with a nice solo during the middle, although a couple licks get a little out if key or mixed up...but then we get a NICE extended outro Jam... kind of atmospheric and spacey but definitely melody driven... with Jerry at the wheel
...and they're STILL jamming out the end of Days Between....
The Sugar Mag is an excellent example of how tight and fully dialed in to their "new" sound the band was at this time. Not the "uninspired" and "sloppy" ensemble that certain so called fans like to claim they'd become. You can also hear Garcia purposely lay back and play more supportive type parts... ending this show with some real group sound focused playing.
Encore is a strained sounding and musically uneventful version of I fought the Law, but who cares! This is a 4.5 to 5 star show just like the, night before... noteworthy for all the extended and spontaneous jamming ... a real treat!!!